Venture Acceleration Fund Boosts Growth for Southwest PPE
Espanola business blazes forward with new equipment, software with VAF investment
Southwest Personal Protective Ensembles (PPE) is on fire this year. The division of Española’s Mountain Air Cleaners that is fully certified to clean, inspect, repair and reconstruct personal protective ensembles was granted a zero-interest loan by the Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF) in 2016.
Southwest PPE cleans and repairs the suits that firefighters use to fight both structural and proximity fires as well as forest fires and wildfires. Six years into the company’s evolution, employees and owners noticed that human error plus the sheer amount of time spent on paper billing were obstructing potential growth for the company.
Enter the VAF, the only organization in Northern New Mexico that provides seed money for early-stage technology startups and growth-oriented business who lack the collateral for debt financing. Funded primarily by Los Alamos National Security (LANS) and administered by the nonprofit Regional Development Corporation (RDC), the VAF has assisted Northern New Mexico businesses at critical junctures since its inception in 2006. This year, LANS is joined by Los Alamos County, the City of Santa Fe, Santa Fe County, and the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) as funding partners.